Feb 062011
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

Humanity is cursed –– we’re born, unlike most other animals, without knowing the exact approach to attract our mates. The instinctual knowledge of other animals fills them with a solid how-to on getting a mate –– from building a fanciful nest, dancing the swankiest jig, or having the tastiest skull cavity, nature’s got them covered.

Thankfully, for us humans, there’s a better, less primitive proposal to get the love you crave this Valentine’s. I’ll be covering the date itself in my next article, but first we have to score you a new love.

First, I need to address a few groups in my audience. If you’re already taken, break up immediately so you can follow my advice more closely.

Alone and happy? Not for long!

Finally, if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, I am confident my advice will have such universal success that you can apply it just as well.

The first step in getting a date is getting attention. You knew this in kindergarten –– punching, pulling hair and starting fires all were code words that meant, “I love you, and I have matches.”

Nowadays, such things have consequences, but the need for attention is no less real.

If you’ve not yet spoken to your future love, you need to make a first impression and one that keeps his or her attention. Luckily for you, it’s been snowy recently, and it’s unlikely that anyone has mentioned that to your target. The line, “Hot enough for you?” is usually a joke, but could be seen as cleverly ironic. If they laugh, say, “No, I meant me,” and then pause, staring at them unblinkingly.

Staring unblinkingly is the second part of the plan –– coy flirtation. We’re not a species that just says what we want –– we’ve been edging toward cage matches to the death instead of political debate for years, but no one will just come out and make it happen because it would take the magic away.

Flirting is much the same. You want to hint at all the things you’re thinking without giving away any of the truth. Body language can be important here, but it’s far too obvious. Remain expressionless and unmoving, and hide what you want to say with clever wordplay, such as riddles. In summary, your ideal approach is a riddle-speaking, glass-eyed ventriloquist dummy.

Strangely, it’s important to avoid seeming too interested. It’s that whole not-saying-what-you- want-thing. Admitting to desire prematurely ends the chase. Since you’re already acting perfectly, it must be some other signal you give off. Something about you says trying too hard. When did you last shower? How nicely are you dressed?

If you can remember the answer to the first question, and did not count the grease stains before answering the second, you are trying too hard. Proper hygiene is something people notice, and the last thing you want your soon-to-be-significant other to think is that the only reason you don’t reek of spilled Taco Bell is because you like them. That would be a turn-off.

At this point, the target should be swooning with attractive fumes, and this is where we have to gender differentiate the next steps.
Men, it’s your job to ask the lady out. Women, it is your job to smile coyly.

Any deviation from these ancient traditions will cause the sun to go black and darkness to swallow the earth.

Now that the date is secure and the sun appeased, you can proceed to planning the actual date. Don’t worry, you have a whole week before Valentine’s, and you should be able to come up with something in time. If not, next week I’ll be covering some great last-minute date locations, including some options if you’re squeamish about breaking and entering.

Johnathan Kastner is in his second year of his second bachelor degree, majoring in computer science. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com

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